Cynde's Story


July 2010

Three small boys,
Naked and starving,
Rest upon an empty rice bag
Spread across the packed forbidding dirt.
Humid, sweltering air holds hostage the
Putrid stench of Shada’s wasteland.
The smell of abject poverty.
This is no home-sweet-home.

Two boys sit cross-legged
With protruding bellies that
Tell the tale of hunger.
Eyes wearily watching,
They do not move; they do not smile.
The smallest boy lies next to his brothers.
His little chest labors up and down
With fragile and tenuous breaths.

Their hopeless beautiful faces pull my heart to them.
Crouching down, I reach.
I touch each boy.
Can they feel that I care?
In that moment of human connection,
The pain and suffering of their unbearable life
Ricochets back to me.
Slam! Unmistakable, in-your-face reality!

It twists my gut and burns my soul.
My hand trembles
As I caress the head of the youngest.
His hair tinged red from malnourishment
Dry and crisp below my hand.
The unfairness of their reality
And their joyless faces
Break my heart,
And trouble my mind.

Tears pool in my eyes.
My emotions unraveling, I step back
To the protection of a friend’s shoulder.
Deep within, I ache for these children.
How must their own flesh and blood mother feel?
How many tears have flooded her heart?
Surely it must heave with anguish
And scream in desperation
Each minute of each day as it
Slowly tick … tick … ticks by.

Yet through her despair,
She hopes and prays for a better reality,
That her precious boys
Wake to a tomorrow
Without the pangs of hunger,
A  tomorrow with a safe and clean place
To rest sleepy heads at night.
A tomorrow where smiles are possible.

End Notes: This is the harsh reality of Haiti that I witnessed on July 1, 2010. But thankfully, it’s a reality that Nativity Church changes, one family at a time, by building homes with safe water and sanitation and by developing self-sustaining projects like tilapia and agricultural farms, fishing villages, and sewing co-ops.  These boys, their mother, and two older brothers were moved out of Shada a few days after our trip to a new Food for the Poor home in a village adjacent to the site of Nativity’s next building project – Nativity Village VI Chastenoye – where more residents of Shada will find safe haven in the near future.